Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains

From: Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, Helena, MT 5/12/06

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Recovery, Week of 5/05 to 5/12, 2006

Monitoring

NEW WEB ADDRESS- The 2006 annual interagency wolf report [covering all 2005] can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/annualreports.htm . It has maps of wolf pack locations and home ranges, tables of wolf numbers and depredations, discussions of litigation and funding issues, summaries of scientific studies, an extensive bibliography, and additional informational websites.

Ross [MFWP] trapped and radio collared 2 adult female gray wolves near the MFWP Wall Creek Wildlife Management Area in the Madison Valley of SW MT on the 8th. Both were gray in color and were ~2 years old and were not breeding females nor did they have any sign of mange. They maybe a new group in the valley but they could be part of the Wedge pack that is just across the river. Monitoring will figure it out in the near future.

At least 8 packs have denned in Wyoming: including 1) Pacific Creek, 2) Buffalo (new pack in Jackson/Grand Teton Park), 3) Washakie, 4) Absaroka, 5) Sunlight, 6) South Fork, 7) Greybull River, and 8) Wood River.

Michael Lucid [IDFG] counted 4 new pups at the Steel Mt. pack densite.

Control

On May 8, MT WS confirmed a large canid killed 9 domestic buck sheep in far NW Dawson Co. near the Richland/McCone Co. lines on private property. Three were killed on or about April 18 [not reported at that time] and 6 more on May 4. WS thought the canid visited the area to feed again between those dates. There were lots of tracks, substrate was good, and they still believe it is a single wolf-like canid. MT WS set traps and will have them checked next 7 days. Landowner was given a shoot on sight permit by MFWP.

A MT WS specialist shot a black yearling female wolf from the Black Canyon pack on the 9th, in the Grasshopper Valley. Control is ongoing to remove the remaining members of this pack. The collared male (SW67) and another uncollared wolf are believed to remain. The 45-day control window ends Thursday May 11.

The 45-day control window for the depredation near Melstone, MT closed on May 4th. No wolves were captured and no further depredations were reported.

On the 29th, WY WS confirmed a calf killed by wolves near Crow Heart on the Wind River Reservation, WY. Traps were set for 2 weeks in an attempt to radio collar any wolves in the area. No wolves returned and traps were pulled on the 12th.

 

On the 29th WY WS confirmed a 2nd calf killed by wolves near Big Piney, WY. This area has had repeated wolf depredations over the last several years. Land owner was issued a shoot-on-site permit and WS attempted to trap and collar a wolf in the area. Wolves did not return and traps were pulled on the 13th. WS will continue to attempt to remove wolves to prevent further depredations.

On the 12th, IDFG issued a shoot-on-sight permit to a private landowner near Leadore, ID who had a calf killed on the 3rd. A wolf was radioed and released on site on the 5th, and ID WS is authorized to remove one wolf from that area. Wolves are still reportedly being seen near cattle in that area.

On the 10th, ID WS Wolf Specialist Williamson provided less than lethal munitions training to a rancher in Squaw Creek, near Clayton, ID. Rick also placed a pair of RAG Boxes on the property and is making plans to put fladry out to try to keep wolves from getting in with the rancher's cattle. This is the same property where WS collared one of the Buffalo Ridge Pack members last week.

Research

On the 11th, ID WS collared a sub-adult, gray, female wolf from the Copper Basin Pack with a GPS collar. The collar also has a VHF transmitter in it. Researchers with USDA-Agriculture Research Service hope to learn the some of dynamics of wolves interactions with cattle in the Copper Basin area. Several cattle are also wearing GPS collars. This trapping effort was not related to a depredation.

Information and Education and Law Enforcement

Jimenez spoke to the Annual Jackson Hole Interagency Elk Management Meeting on the 11th. Approx. 20 people from WYGF, U.S. Forest Service, Grand Teton National Park, and the National Elk Refuge attended.

IDFG just hired recently retired USFWS veteran wolf biologist Carter Niemeyer to work as a trapper and field biologist for the summer. Welcome back Carter!

IDFG officer Doug Peterson and ID WS agents investigated a site of a wolf that was legally killed under the 10j allowances of a producer protecting his livestock. The wolf killed was likely a member of the transboundary Driggs/Teton pack first collared in Wyoming and lost last winter when the collar was chewed off.

On the 12th, a dead wolf was found on private property in a snare that an ID WS specialist had placed on a fence line to catch coyotes. The snare had a break-away lock and no wolves were known to be in that area. WS immediately contacted law enforcement officers from the IDFG and FWS. The matter is under investigation.

The Service's weekly wolf report can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/ . This report is government public property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit.

Contact: Ed Bangs (406)449-5225 x204 or ED_BANGS@FWS.GOV